Top critical review
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on 7 July 2014
When this book was released in English, it was much heralded in the British media as giving particular insight into Europe’s most powerful politician. On the cover there are recommendations from German reviews ‘most interesting’ Die Zeit, ‘Thrillingly written’ Neue Zurcher Zeitung; ‘meticulous’ Die Welt. I agree with the last, but not the first two, maybe something got lost in translation
As Germany is the largest economy in Europe, its leaders actions and opinions are very important. It is also a fact that Germany takes almost no part in difficult international diplomacy – it abstained on Libya, its position on Ukraine seemed equivocal. There is also the Oz suspicion about the German economy, powerful as it is, it may be less financially powerful than we think. The combined debts of Italy and Spain might be too great to be offset by German backing (even if it was forthcoming).
So all in all, a book that explained what Angela Merkel’s views on economics, Gemanys’ financial and political place in the world, would be very interesting.
With this book I didn’t get more than you might know or guess already. She’s no big fan of Putin, but doesn’t want to rock the boat with Russia. She will do only what is required to save the Euro, no grand sweeping gestures, each country must rescue itself, and only when the whole system is threatened will she consider some compromise. Each diplomatic action must be considered by itself, not part of a grand strategy – the vote to abstain on the Libyan action is now considered an embarrassment. So, piecemeal stuff. On a personal level, same deal, she if reserved, cautious, restrained. She can speak Russian, loves the US west coast, is very supportive of Israel (one thing I didn’t know) and could retire mid-way through her current term, if she feels the Euro is stable.